Nyako vs Abbas: Tribunal dismisses petition, awards N750,000 to Sen Abbas
The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Yola, Adamawa State on Saturday, dismissed the petition instituted against Aminu Iya Abbas, Senator representing Adamawa Central Senatorial District.
The decision of the tribunal has put to rest allegation of falsification of documents levelled against the incumbent Senator, Iya Abbas by the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Sen. Abdulazeez Murtala Nyako who lost the election.
Sen. Nyako, and his party had filed petition, alleging that Sen. Iya Abbas, who was declared winner and return elected of the exalted seat, had used forged documents in vying for the most coveted seat in the district.
Abdulazeez, and one time senator who represented the district, had joined Sen. Iya Abbas, PDP and INEC as 1st to 3rd respondents in his petition and asked the tribunal to nullify his election on ground that he had falsified his certificate of birth.
He averred that Sen. Iya Abbas is not qualified to contest the February 25th, 2023 general election having submitted a falsed statutory declaration of age to the electoral umpire.
The petitioner tied his petition on the alleged non qualification of the 1st respondent and the immediate past Speaker of the House of Assembly, and prayed the tribunal to nullify his election and withdraw certificate of return issued to him by the electoral body.
Furthermore, he urged the tribunal to declare him as the winner of the seat and be issued with the certificate of return having emerged second by the lawful votes cast during the exercise.
He alleged that the declarant, Alh. Iya Abbas was dead at the time the documents were produced on the 21st January, 2011, insisting that the father of the Senator, Aminu Iya Abbas died in 2008, precisely 3 solid years before the documents were made.
In her well considered judgment on the petition, one of the Judges of the tribunal, Maryam Ahmed Sabo, stated that there was no credible and convincing evidence that Sen. Iya Abbas submitted documents to take undue advantage against his opponent.
Justice Maryam held that whether the Senator was born in 1973 or 1975, he is still above the Constitutional requirement of 35 years to contest election held on the 25th February, 2023. ” l hold that the 1st respondent is Constitutionally competent and won the election held on the 25th February, 2023 for Adamawa Central District”. She declared.
She said that there was no credible and compelling evidence that Sen. Iya Abbas has criminal intent to forge his statutory declaration of age in order to circumvent the provision of the Constitution being that it was admitted by all parties (Sen. Abdulazeez inclusive) that he was above 35 years at the time of the 2023 election which no need for him to alter his age.
According to her, Sen. Abdulazeez and APC who alleged that Sen. Iya Abbas forged his documents must prove and establish that he did so with intent to defraud, misled or take undue advantage of adversary party, saying that their evidence is short to prove the criminal intent of Sen. Iya Abbas.
She stated that it is also not the fact that the alleged statutory declaration of age was signed by the Senator himself, adding that section 65 (a) of the 1999 Constitution as amended provides that a person shall be qualified to contest for senate if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 35 years.
She said that in his final written address, the petitioner made it categorically clear that he has no grudges with the age of Sen. Iya Abbas; instead, it is an act presenting a forged documents to INEC, which means the 49 years of Sen. Iya Abbas is not at all in dispute.
Gathered that even the petitioners in their pleadings, statements on oath and under cross examination testified and affirmed that Sen. Iya Abbas is above the Constitutional requirement age stipulated in aforementioned section.
Justice Maryam Ahmed Sabo dismissed the petition in its entirety and in the interest of justice, awarded cost of N750, 000.00 only in favour of the 3 respondents against the petitioners.